Response from TRAI after Protesting Against Free Basics
This year has been a year of protest to save the Internet for India. Free Basics a.k.a. Internet.org by Facebook has come forward to provide Internet access to people has not yet connected to Internet. Citizens of India seems to be against this move as this is against Net Neutrality. Indians are based on the fact that one cannot restrict what to view on Internet. This is what the Internet law says too. Tim Berners-Lee is careful in not breaking the Net Neutrality and hence, says people to say no to Internet.org by Facebook. Deadline given by TRAI is over and the response from TRAI is awaited by India.
India faced a same issue when Airtel Zero was trying to bring content based pricing. Airtel Zero offered few services that users need to pay, if suppose a user wants to view other content beyond the pack, then he or she must pay the operator. This is something like we pay for our Television channels.
We used to enjoy all channels on a cable Television network at a fixed rate each month but after the emergence of dish TVs we pay for channels we watch. My parents watch a different channels based on their age group and if my little brother wants to watch his favourite channels, then we need to pay for watching his favourite cartoon channels. India don't want the same to happen with Internet.
Facebook tries to monopoly its services in a country. People say that Facebook is not in the motive to help poor people but only to extend its services. If Facebook really wants to help the poor people, then the company might have provided a free Internet up to certain bandwidth for such users. Choosing services by a private company is one such thing that prevents the freedom of a citizen.
However, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has said that Internet.org and Net Neutrality can co-exist. India is too vigorous in stopping Free Basics considering its effects in future.
TRAI gave time up to December 30, 2015 to hear for responses from the citizens. Facebook seems to have misled people via advertisements, banners and notifications.
TRAI has not responded regarding this issue yet. The time is over and let us wait for the response from TRAI regarding this issue.
UPDATE 1: Last date for submission of comments against Free Basics has been extended to January 7, 2016.
UPDATE 2: TRAI has finally responded to the protest. Facebook made users to send emails by sending out notifications to people. TRAI has considered it as a "template" that they did not consider as a genuine answer for saving Free Basics. Also, it did not answer to all the questions raised in the Consultation Paper. TRAI has decided to bid "bye" to Free Basics in India. Here is the response from TRAI.